Managing a Media Website by the Numbers [video]

“Working together with finance forces you to be a little more specific on exactly how you’re going to measure something.”

David McBride addresses three questions about creating an analytics system that is well integrated with a corporate team.

1. Where Should Analytics Live?

  • Where can analytics create the most value?
  • Where can analytics enable decisions?
  • There is virtue to independence, but analytics must have an agenda of creating value.
  • The value should be tied to the company’s core mission, which may be one of revenue, customer service, journalistic integrity, or a variety of other core missions.

There has to be a balance between understanding financial goals and understanding how less quantifiable metrics affect financial goals and other company goals.

2. Monthly Metrics Close

The entire metrics staff is gathered once a month, and goals are discussed, as well as how the company is doing with these goals. The goals are determined with the finance department, and at the meeting, the following things are discussed:

  • How they did in the previous month.
  • How that compares to the budget.
  • What is the annual goal?
  • Are they on pace to hit that goal?

By defining the goals and creating metrics to measure those goals, it is possible to determine a path for the company as a whole.

3. Building a First Rate Team

Ideal analysts should have the following traits:

  1. Think logically
  2. Question assumptions.
  3. Entrepreneurial drive
  4. Experience acquiring customers
  5. Good with Excel

Finding analysts is quite difficult. Strategies that have been successful for finding good analysts include providing internships and looking offline, specifically targeting top regional universities instead of private colleges. While students attending Ivy League colleges tend to be searching for jobs in investment banking, while top regional school students tend to try a little bit harder and are willing to accept jobs outside of investment banking.

David McBride, Director, Business Intelligence, Comcast

David McBrideDavid McBride leads the Business Intelligence team at Comcast Interactive Media (CIM), a division of Comcast focused on developing interactive services that offer video, entertainment and communications products to consumers across web and mobile platforms. Before joining CIM in 2006, David was a product manager at Dell. He holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School.